A loyal Spaniel who can untie shoe laces, open doors and even help her disabled owner with the washing has been given a medal for her outstanding devotion.
Three year-old Working Cocker Molly works as an assistance dog for Lucy Watts, who suffers from loose joints due to a rare tissue disorder.
As a result, she suffers with chronic pain and is sometimes bed-bound due to complications of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which has in the past left her feeling withdrawn, isolated and unhappy.
But after bounding into Lucy’s life as an eight-week-old puppy, Molly has turned her life around and the pair now share a unique bond.
Lucy, 23, said: “Molly is the best companion I could ask for. She has helped give me something to focus on.
“Puppies bring so much joy anyway but Molly was like a ray of light for me.
“She gave me the motivation to get up and out of bed again.
“She seems to instinctively know if I’m in pain or not. She never tries to jump up for a cuddle if I’m uncomfortable.”
Trained as a Dog Assistance In Disability (Dog A.I.D), Molly supports Lucy on a daily basis with everyday tasks that would otherwise be impossible.
She can pick up and fetch items on demand, remove clothing, untie shoe laces, open doors and even helps do with washing.
Molly also protects Lucy by warning her if her temperature spikes by licking her hands and arms.
The high temperatures are an early sign of septicemia, which is life-threatening, so the warnings give Lucy vital time to seek help.
Molly is also able to alert Lucy when her blood pressure drops, allowing her to lie her wheelchair down to prevent a collapse.
As well, Lucy feels more confident about going outside and interacting with the public with Molly by her side, despite previously feeling ignored.
Lucy added: “She was never intended as an assistance dog but her devotion to me and her training has never wavered. I would be lost without her.”
As a reward for her talents, Molly was honoured by the PDSA for her work after being nominated by Lucy at her family home in Benfleet, Essex.
She was presented with a medal at Lucy’s family home in Benfleet, Essex.
PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin said: “Lucy and Molly share a very special bond so it was my privilege to meet them both and honour this wonderful relationship.
“Molly has helped Lucy in so many remarkable ways, she makes a vast difference to her life on a daily basis.
“It’s an honour to award the PDSA Order of Merit to such a worthy recipient.”
Molly is the fourth dog and fourteenth animal to receive the PDSA Order of Merit since its institution in June 2014.
The Medal is awarded to recognise animals that have shown outstanding acts of devotion and that symbolise the special relationship between animals and humans.